Two senior diplomats in the United Arab Emirates were ordered home and put in cold storage after the lack of official “guest status” received by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during his official visit to the Emirates last month, FMT reported.
It was reported that the 2, ambassador, Datuk Mohd Tarid Sufian and the consul-general in Dubai, Mohd Hasril Abdul Hamid had since been assigned to a pool of civil servants in the public service department in Putrajaya.
In essence, they are placed in cold storage where officers falling out of favour are sent pending their next move.
Unlike the usual protocol for a senior minister of the host country to be officially assigned to receive foreign dignitaries, there were no top UAE officials present.
The only senior officers who were present at the airport to receive Ismail when he landed in Dubai were Mohd Tarid and Mohd Hasril.
FMT also quoted several unnamed sources, saying the move to put both senior officials in cold storage doesn’t sit well with officials at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
It was said that the ambassador had relayed to Wisma Putra that the UAE government believe that the timing of Ismail’s visit to Dubai was not suitable as it coincided with the Dubai World Expo which saw hundreds of VIPs coming from all over the world into the country daily.
“Wisma Putra or the foreign minister should have advised the prime minister to reschedule the visit. This is a major flaw as it involves diplomacy and the reputation of the government,” the source said.
However, it is not known if Ismail is aware of the recall.
The Wisma Putra officials are also unhappy with Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah for not defending his officers from being ordered to come back home.
“Of course, their official reply will be that it is a normal transfer and has nothing to do with the prime minister’s visit. But the staff won’t buy it,” he added.